- The Washington Times - Friday, February 21, 2014

A new survey says Obamacare’s tax on medical device manufacturers has cost the industry about 33,000 jobs.

In a report this week, the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) said companies cut about 14,000 workers and decided not to hire about 19,000 workers because of the

The report also said the 2.3 percent excise tax also forced three-quarters of respondents to defer or cancel capital projects, reduce investment in start-ups or defer raises for their employees.

The medical device tax is one of several taxes built into the Affordable Care Act to help pay for the reforms. But it has been attacked by both sides of the political aisle as a job-killer that harms a growing business sector.

Democrats from states like Minnesota and Indiana have been particularly vocal about their opposition, due to the large number of manufacturers in their states, but Congress has not found roughly $30 billion dollars needed to repeal the tax over the next 10 years.

“During a time when there is bipartisan support for growing high-technology manufacturing jobs, these results should serve as a wake-up call,” AdvaMed President and CEO Stephen J. Ubl said. “As a result of the medical device tax, we have seen an unprecedented impact on jobs and key investments in R&D. The findings of the report underscore the need to repeal this tax.”

Critics of the repeal crowd say the outcry is much ado about nothing.

“Not only can the medical-device industry easily afford the tax without compromising innovation, but the industry’s enormous profits are a result of anticompetitive practices that themselves drive up medical-device costs unnecessarily,” the New York Times editorial board said in October.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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